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What Do The Families Of Sick Kids Need Right Now?

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Employees at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh pose with protective masks on as part of coronavirus protocols in the Lawrenceville facility.


On today's program: A new survey finds parents need more help and resources to deal with changes caused by coronavirus; Morning Edition’s David Greene discusses covering the pandemic for a national audience; why two rural PA counties were hit hardest by business closures; and WPIAL cancellations could impact scholarships and jobs for some student athletes. 

Stress of life during coronavirus hits some caretakers harder than kids
(00:00 — 4:04) 

The coronavirus is creating new challenges for everyone, including parents and caregivers who want to make sure their children feel safe and happy. A new survey by researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital finds that while some caregivers say they are able to fulfill their child’s needs, parents and guardians themselves need more help.

“We’re hearing lots of stories of families doing amazing things to care for their children and to help their children learn and thrive during this time," says pediatrician Dr. Kristin Ray, child health researcher and director of health system improvements at UPMC Children's. "But that parents’ own emotional, social, and mental well-being is in a rough spot.”

UPMC launched a Family Strengths Survey Resource List to share resources about physical and mental health needs and ways to connect with local support networks. 

“We didn’t want to just collect data," Ray says. "We wanted this to be about action and improving circumstances for families."

David Greene on covering the pandemic for NPR
(4:11 — 8:13) 

Journalists here in Pittsburgh and across the country have been working from home to get out news and perspectives during the pandemic. NPR's David Greene speaks from his living room where he says microphones and candlelight welcome him every morning at 4 a.m.

Rural business closures hit some Pennsylvania counties hard
(8:25 — 13:17) 

Pennsylvania has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and rural Elk and Cameron Counties—just northwest of State College—are among the state’s hardest hit, with both showing nearly twice the state average for unemployment claims per capita.

Keystone Crossroads’ Laura Benshoff reports on why this area has been so affected and why turning on the local economy again won’t be so easy.

WPIAL students deal with COVID-19 cancellations
(13:25 — 18:01) 

Precautions taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in the cancellation of many school-related activities, including sports. But what might this mean for students who were looking for scholarships and jobs tied to high school sports?

90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider speaks to Tim O’Malley, the outgoing executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, about how cancelling spring sports and offseason practice will affect students.

90.5 WESA’s Julia Zenkevich contributed to this report. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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